Josh Unice says he is happy to slug it out for the goaltending position at Sheffield Steelers once Frank Doyle is fit to return.
The young American conceded just one goal against Coventry Blaze last Saturday and then shut out Cardiff Devils on Sunday- saving no fewer than 36 shots.
Unice quit his team in Slovakia because he wasn’t happy there - but insists competition for the starting role is not something he is afraid of.
The goalie told The Star: “I didn’t come here to be a rent-a-goalie; I want to prove myself and hopefully be able to stick around and help the team out.
“Frank is a world class goalie, he has proved that year after year, it’s kind of my job right now to keep the team going. He has pretty big shoes to fill I will take it one game at a time and go from there.
“My biggest thing is I always want to play and I want to give it everything I can. Obviously I would be more than happy to compete as long as the team wins at the end of the day I will accept any role that I have to.”
While Unice is an ambitious professional athlete, it is comforting to know he wants to stay on for the rest of the campaign and rival Doyle for the spot, especially as Doyle’s hand injury is a recurring one that clearly hasn’t gone away.
The newcomer clearly admires the more defensive and gritty style of play in the UK than in Slovakia.
“Here it’s a lot more north American, teams play defence. In Slovakia it’s run and gun, breakaways, three on ones, it was not really hockey, not north American style!
Here we play a very system-orientated game, very smart.”
Unice felt at home in the cramped confines of Cardiff’s ice arena - he likes smaller surfaces. But he described Steelers as a “world class organisation” and has already recognised the close team-spirit that exists in the locker room. That bonding continues on the ice, where he has been impressed by players who are prepared to put their bodies on the line and block shots.